Speaking of old German things

Monday, August 18, 2014

I came across another old German book here, upon doing a search for the keyword Ceres during the 50 or so years it was considered to be a planet. This was back before the term asteroid had been clearly defined, when the only objects we were capable of discovering were around planetary size. Eventually so many of them were discovered that a decision was made to call them something else besides a planet, the term asteroid was coined, and Ceres vanished from view. Who wants to explore an asteroid, after all, when there are planets to be explored? Were Ceres to have remained a planet, it likely would have been visited a lot sooner than early 2015.


As a book from 1805 the German orthography is old and the first parts of the book are full of calculations along with bad scans that make it hard to read. Around page 300 though it gets into direct observations of the planet, and by then the scanning quality is better. So if you're into that sort of thing, read a bit of the intro, then skip over the badly scanned parts and then make your way toward the end.

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Germany in 1912: Images 281 to 285

The Diemurser Bridge belongs to this picturesque old quarter of Hamburg through which small barges travel on the dirty water amongst the boats moored here and there.

View of the Alster. - The Alster is divided into two parts by the bridge of the Lombards. In the foreground, the Aussen-Alster, further, the Binnen-Alster. The brightest and most beautiful part of the city is the Binnen-Alster. On its banks, especially on the Jungfernstieg, walks an elegant and cosmopolitan crowd.

The Elbstrasse is one of the busiest shopping streets in Hamburg. Here one is aware of the movement of business of one of the most important ports in the world.

The swimming pond. - Amid the intense animation of many ponds that constitute the great port of Hamburg, the incessant movement of steamers, boats and yachts, it is a curious sight to see the antics of the many swimmers in the frothing Elbe.

Hamburg. - Perpendicular to the docks covered with warehouses, cranes, trucks, railways, etc., one sees narrow streets interspersed with canals with muddy water. This is the area of the "Fleth."

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Germany in 1912: Images 276 to 280

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hamburg. - The Rathaus, rebuilt some ten years ago, is a fine edifice of stone, surmounted by a tower of 112 meters, harmonious in its heaviness.

The Fleth District. - The term "Fleth" the many canals that criss-cross the old city. Two rivers here are connected through sluices.

Hamburg. - The Alster-Flag is a cafe-restaurant built on stilts, one of the most frequented in the city. Beside it are the Hamburgerhof and superb hotel Vierjahreszeiten.

The Bridge of the River Elbe was completed in 1888. At its ends rise large brick Gothic gates, which give it an imposing and monumental character.

The Commemorative Monument of 1870-1871. - Its breadth and its banality give a fairly accurate idea of most German patriotic monuments.

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Using Google's Ngram viewer to trace the decline of English long S

Thursday, August 07, 2014

(Note: this post is from late 2010, and I found it in my drafts today. No idea why it was never published.)

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In case you haven't noticed, a few days ago Google put out a new tool that shows the results of keyword searches starting back as far as 1700, and yes it's as addictive as it sounds. It has also let me solve something that I was thinking of doing some looking into myself: frequency of the United States is vs. the United States are. I had suspected that the latter would have been more common during the country's early history when the country was not as quite as tight a union as it is today, and it looks like my suspicions were correct. Starting in 1800 the United States is begins to grow, and as the Civil War happens it grows at an even greater rate.

One other particularly interesting use of the tool is tracking the usage of the long s in English, as this chart shows:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Historical_usage_of_long_s.svg


Since the software recognizes a long s as an f, all you have to do to track this is to find a word using a long s that doesn't look like any other English word when you replace it with an f. Paradise Lost wouldn't work then as loft is a real word. Street and ftreet does though.

Also note that the tool is available for other languages besides English: French, German, Russian, Spanish, etc.

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Armenian Wikipedia, Rosetta, Mormon language learning, Gaza tunnel diggers

Saturday, August 02, 2014

I haven't been writing here much recently, simply because I've been so occupied with reading. Maybe two months ago I came across this study showing the effects of massive amounts of reading (1+ million words) and how it compared to time spent abroad, and apparently the general rule is 1 million words equalled about the same improvement as a year overseas. This one here is interesting too, especially the chart a few pages down. That chart shows that the volume of text needed to be exposed to 10,000 words at least once is 600,000+ words. To see them three times each: 3+ million.

So I thought I would read The Wheel of Time (4+ million words) in two languages and see what a difference it makes. And also to truly get a feel for what a million words is like. A million is a lot of words. I'm currently halfway through book 5. I read up to book 8 in English before back in the 1990s, and decided that I would stop reading until the series was completed, which it was two years ago.

I don't like to treat Page F30 as a polyglot blog, given the limitations it places on what one can write about, but this spreadsheet might be interesting to readers.

Words means the number of words I've deleted that day (I use Readlang.com for this), words learning is the number of words registered there, and it goes up as new words are added and others I don't need to review anymore are deleted. Total is the total number of new words I assume have been put in my head since starting this, 1400 is just a number to make the graph look nice, pages is the number of pages read that day, words read is pages multiplied by 350. Then divide that by new words, which gives words per new word. That last column has turned out to be less meaningful than I thought because it depends on my mood whether I click on a word or not. Sometimes I feel like adding a word I kind of know but want to see a few more times anyway, and other times I don't.

On days off I can read 20,000+ words, on work days I can get 10,000 words in, sometimes fewer.

DateWordsRunning totalWords learningTotal
PagesWords readNew wordsWords per new word
July 7222017209211400612135045474,44
July 8252267519771400561960056350,00
July 92525179210431400682380066360,61
July 104529677210681400561960025784,00
July 1113743365210851400301050017617,65
July 123346666411301400632205045490,00
July 131648267011521400311085022493,18
July 14849069311831400451575031508,06
July 1524927151207140039, on page 6851365024568,75
July 161350573412391400102, on page 3935700321 115,63
July 1725077371244140029, on page 681015052 030,00
July 181106176371254140021, on page 89735010735,00
July 191207375351272140064, on page 15322400181 244,44
July 20557924901282140041, on page 19414350101 435,00
July 21418334561289140019, on page 21357957827,86
July 22398724311303140017, on page 230595014425,00
July 23188904181308140013, on page 24345505910,00
July 24369264231349140034, on page 2771190041290,24
July 25359614151376140029, on page 3061015027375,93
July 26189794501429140054, on page 3601890053356,60
July 272410034491452140040, on page 4001400023608,70
July 282410274481475140040, on page 4401400023608,70
July 29810354491484140025, on page 46587509972,22
July 303610714531524140047, on page 5121645040411,25
July 315211234531576140082, on page 5942870052551,92

So let's let to the other items in the title.

Armenian Wikipedia: I remember being disappointed at its tiny size a year or two ago, and apparently it has exploded since then due to a national campaign to have everyone write one article each. Here's one video encouraging Armenians to contribute:





Rosetta: the mission, not the language learning software. I an extremely pleased with them releasing daily images of the comet as Rosetta approaches. Dawn had better do something similar when it approaches Ceres in the next few months, as the lack of images during the Vesta approach was simply unacceptable.


Mormons: NPR has an article on the techniques they use to learn languages. I've always been impressed by the way they learn languages, since the first time I ever spoke with a non-Japanese person only in Japanese with a Mormon from Brazil in Nagoya.

Gaza tunnel diggers: This documentary with French subtitles is one of the more interesting documentaries I've seen in a while. It is a few years old, and is just 50 minutes of following a few of these tunnel diggers around as they do their thing. It has music but no extra commentary, which is great. A documentary without the typical dozens and dozens of quips from specialists speaking on the matter in their office is a rare treat.

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